Therapy Animal

Juma, the 121-Pound Dog, Helps Make the Hospital Less Scary


'Juma' helps make the hospital a happier place!

We love stories about therapy animals so we wanted to share the story about a large breed volunteering as a therapy dog. Juma is one member of a fourteen pet therapy team, Pet Partners, which also includes a cat. UnityPoint-St. Luke's Hospital is where Juma is photographed and this therapy program is happening in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

KCRG News interviewed Juma's handler and there is no question that this dog brings happiness to everyone she meets. Honestly, Juma is the size of a mini-horse. What's not calming about petting a dog and I'd actually want to give this pup a hug! Although I know dogs don't love hugs.

"Her favorite job is volunteering at St. Luke's, making people smile, kids, staff, adults, everybody," said O'Connell. "You can see calming effects right away."

Juma has more than a thousand hours of service in her five years of volunteering with Pet Partners. What a good dog! The breeds in the Pet Partners program vary from standard poodles to a Doberman. This story reinforces the most important part of therapy animal programs. Juma helps take everyone's mind off of why they're there and the fact that they're sick even for a few minutes.

About the Leonberger breed

The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a few amazing facts about this breed.

  • Height: 28-31.5 inches (male), 25.5-29.5 inches (female)
  • Weight: 110-170 pounds (male), 90-140 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 9 years

If you're looking for a harness for your large breed dog, try this brand. We're big fans! The Big Dog Harness is available for $14.99 and available on Amazon. The best feature is the no-pull design. 


We imagine the halls of the hospital are much brighter and happier when Juma is around. Wouldn't it be fun to see standard poodles, retrievers, and a 121-pound Leonberger in the halls?

Have you worked with any therapy dogs? Let us know in the comments.

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